Republican Sen. Mark Kirk has had enough. He’s up for reelection. He’s probably not going to keep his seat. And he previously gave a casual endorsement to Donald Trump, like so many of his GOP fellows. But he can’t take it anymore. So he took it back. “After much consideration, I have concluded that Donald Trump has not demonstrated the temperament necessary to assume the greatest office in the world,” the Illinois senator said on Tuesday in a long statement savaging Trump for his many weird what-used-to-be-called-gaffes.
Given my military experience, Donald Trump does not have the temperament to command our military or our nuclear arsenal.— Mark Kirk (@MarkKirk) June 7, 2016
Furthermore: “While I oppose the Democratic nominee, Donald Trump’s latest statements, in context with past attacks on Hispanics, women and the disabled like me, make it certain that I cannot and will not support my party’s nominee for president regardless of the political impact on my candidacy or the Republican Party"
Kirk has doggedly but unethuasiatisally supported Trump for months, and now he says he’s writing in former CIA director and retired Gen. David Petraeus. The actual person isn’t the point (sorry, William Kristol) so much as the fact that an endorsement has been yanked out of Trump’s reportedly tiny hands. And though Kirk has used a wheelchair for the past few years since he had a stroke, it doesn’t seem like Trump’s apparent mocking of a disabled reporter last fall is what made him officially declare taksies backsies. No, the Donald’s going after a judge with Mexican heritage is what made Kirk flip over the Trump table and say, “Fuck it.” And he may not be alone.
It appeares Trump has finally been convinced to stop accusing a Hispanic judge of being unable to rule on any Trump-related litigation, but the damage has been done. Not enough damage to actually stop the Trump-pede perhaps, but you can tell by the GOP eye twitches that a few of them are regretting all of their lives up to this moment.
House Speaker Paul Ryan managed to make the wussiest stand possible by saying Trump was being racist towards federal judge Gonzalo Curiel–who was definitely born in Indiana, in spite of Trump’s hysteria–but still sticking with the Donald endorsement. Because it’s him or Clinton now, and the Republicans can’t stand to back someone who is arguably more conservative in some ways, because…they can’t, ok? Though Sen. Lindsay Graham, who called Trump’s comments “un-American” and McCarthyist,“ could be closer than some. Hell, Graham’s a nasty hawk who isn’t nearly so nasty on immigration, so honestly, Clinton should be his woman. If not, Graham is dying for the rest of the party to just say no to Trump.
Nevada Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval might be one of those nos. Like Kirk, Sandoval was never thrilled about the Donald’s takeover of the party, but he politely mentioned that the nominee would have his endorsement because, ew, Democrats. Trump’s comments about Curiel are indeed what bothers Sandoval the most. Iowa State Sen. David Johnson also said Trump had gone too far with his questioning the judge’s ability to do his job. State senator is small potatoes, perhaps, but it’s going to be very interesting to see if the Trump take-backers have more success than the NeverTrumpers.
After the uncomfortable week they had, is anyone else in the GOP going to say “Fuck it” too? Are any of Trump’s downtrodden endorsers going to vomit up the Kool-Aid they drank? Will someone free Gov. Chris Christie? Will Jeb Bush finally step into the ring, possibly while wielding a giant sword of some kind?
Probably not. However, #NeverTrump Twitter delighted in Kirk’s decision today. Party loyalty happens, but it still seems odd that so many Republicans would give in and endorse a man who has no particularly deep ties to the GOP but just happened to win its nomination. Come on, boys and girls, you hate him that much, keep fighting.